The effects of alcohol on your body

Drinking too much too often can have an impact on your health.


Reduce your risks by knowing how much you are drinking and making sure you don’t drink more than the guidelines.


If you regularly drink more than the guidelines you increase your risk of developing health problems such as high blood pressure, liver problems, heart attack and some types of cancer.


  • men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
  • spread your drinking over three or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
  • if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week

If you’re pregnant or think you could become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.

There is no safe level of drinking

If you drink less than 14 units a week, this is considered low-risk drinking.

It’s called “low risk” rather than “safe” because there is no safe drinking level.

The type of illnesses you can develop after 10 to 20 years of regularly drinking more than 14 units a week include:

  • cancers of the mouth, throat and breast
  • stroke
  • heart disease
  • liver disease
  • brain damage
  • damage to the nervous system

The effects of alcohol on your health will depend on how much you drink. The less you drink, the lower the health risks.

For more information visit NHS Choices